We all like to think that we can manage a certain degree of pain, but we all have different levels of tolerance You’re often asked to rate your pain whilst in hospital , 1 – 10, but once you’ve rated it 10 you’re rating can drop dramatically. I can’t ever see myself re-calculating the scale of pain, I never want to experience anything near 10 ever again. Of course when you’re in the critical care unit everything is at your disposal to relieve pain, and you find yourself waiting for that green light to come on when you can automatically administer more morphine. Apart from the daily visit of the physio to move me, I don’t remember being in much pain whilst in CCU. I was left to float around and enjoy the side effects of the pain reliving drugs. Nothing seemed unusual, conversations with non-existent people, walls moving, colours changing before your eyes. In Lewis’ words, I was talking a load of bollocks most of the time!
I was looking forward to going out Friday night, meeting proper people, friends. After last weekends Sunday lunch, the first ‘proper’ going out since I came out of hospital. I had a sleep in preparation, kept off the morphine and even went o the effort of putting a shirt & tie on. My own little fashion statement, nothing to do with looking half-decent. It took me ages to get ready, everything takes double to effort at the moment, but I was looking forward to it and felt it was worth all the effort. It wasn’t until I got there that I realised it had the hardest seats in Saddleworth. As much as I tried I couldn’t get comfortable, and I was certainly getting some funny looks from others in the pub as I tried to relive the pressure on my bum. We normally have such a good time, a great laugh, but apart from the odd dropped apostrophe, I wasn’t. Discomfort was turning to pain, my legs were aching, again, I was feeling dizzy, and alcohol wasn’t going to improve the situation. I returned home, pleased that I had made the effort to go out, but disappointed that there was little reward for it.
On arrival home there was no thought of half an hours TV, no coffee, no sit down and relax, it was straight to bed and back on the bottle, my old friend, Morphine sulphate. By now the pain had well and truly set in, you can’t ignore it when it gets like that. The dosage at home is of course considerably less than the supervised environment of hospital, but regardless, I was soon levitating from my bed, surrounded by the friends I had just left behind, old school friends I hadn’t seen in 30 years, still in school uniform. You don’t sleep while on morphine, you just have experiences, so vivid that you’re not even sure when you are awake, everything is so believable. You don’t question anything even when you (think you) are awake, it really happened. It’s not frightening, in fact it’s quite enjoyable, and for that period when you are away in a drug induced fantasy, the pain has gone away.
At some point around the breaking of dawn Saturday morning I must have been comfortable enough to stop the regular topping up of the opiates. There comes a point when you don’t need it, you don’t have to force yourself to stop. You’re so far away in your private little Disney world that it doesn’t occur to you any more. It’s when you stop pressing the green button in hospital, you‘re drifting and floating through the archive of your memory and the infinity of imagination. Eventually, reality and illusion begin to separate. You don’t wake, you just allow actuality to take control. There’s no questioning of what you’ve just experienced, it just blends into normality. There is no need to question the experience, it really did happen.
A few weeks ago I mentioned a couple of people who were doing heroic things by way of raising funds for cancer charities. Since that time I can think of at least half a dozen people who have lost their fight against cancer. Seeing the devastation it has left behind is just horrific, and upsets me immensely. There’s no pain relief available to these friends and relatives, they have to deal with the loss and grief, whilst all the time cancer is lurking in the background laughing. Just take a minute to stop and think, how many people do you know who have been the victim of cancer? How many celebrities have you read about recently who have lost their battle? Quite a few I guess. Treatment for cancer has improved immensely over the last 25-30 years, but the fight must go on. We’re not there yet. Their work could not continue without the support of people like Chris, who is running the BUPA Great Manchester Run on 20th May in aid of Cancer Research. He’s doing this for, amongst others, me, our friends and relatives, and who knows maybe you.
Please, I beg you, dig deep, empty your change jar, check the back of the sofa, pick up those pennies from the street. Every penny really does count, no donation is too small. Just think what it could be worth to someone. If you can find those pennies, you can donate here :
http://www.runningsponsorme.org/chrisdoyle , and let Chris know how much we appreciate what he’s doing.